Wilson Earns Third NESCAC Performer of the Week Honor; Amherst Teams in Prime Position for National Championship Run

Heather Wilson
Senior co-captain Heather Wilson has been named the NESCAC Performer of the Week three times this season.

AMHERST, MA – Amherst College senior co-captain Heather Wilson (Danvers, MA), the 2007 NESCAC Most Outstanding Performer, paced the Lord Jeffs at the NCAA Cross Country Atlantic Regional Championship by finishing the six-kilometer race with a time of 21 minutes and 31 seconds to lead her team to a first-place finish. The Jeffs conclude their season Saturday, Nov. 17 at St. Olaf College, where they are among the favorites to take home a national championship.

This is Wilson’s third time earning Performer of the Week honors in 2007, as she has been a leader for Amherst throughout the season. This past weekend at Conn. College, Wilson helped the Jeffs capture not only the program’s first win at the NCAA Regional Championship, but also an automatic bid to the national championship. Amherst dominated by placing four of its runners in the top 10, with Wilson placing second despite battling stomach cramps throughout the later stages of the race. Following Wilson were fellow senior co-captain Kim Partee (Brentwood, TN) and junior Elise Tropiano (Plainview, NY) in sixth and seventh place, respectively.

Not to be outdone by the women, the Amherst men also placed first for the program’s best finish at the Regional Championships, as the Lord Jeffs had never finished in the top three at the event. Amherst was once again paced by rookie sensation Will Yochum (Goleta, CA), who placed ninth with a time of 25:10.4 to help the Jeffs finish one point ahead of second-place Williams College.

The Amherst women have taken home six first-place finishes this season and have finished as the runner-up twice, while the Amherst men have won two races, placed second three times, and have never finished worse than eighth.

While the Amherst men ended their 2006 season with a ninth-place showing at the NCAA Regionals, the Amherst women came up just short of a national title by finishing just one point behind first-place Middlebury College. Wilson and Partee paced the Jeffs at last year’s national championships by placing seventh and 11th, respectively, and will look to significantly improve this time around.

The women’s race will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday, with the men starting at noon. While the Amherst women will travel to Minnesota as the top-ranked team in Division III, the Amherst men will look to pull off a major upset as the No. 12 team in the country. The Lord Jeffs have trained hard and seen great success thus far, as both squads will be looking for the school’s first cross country national title. A NESCAC school has been crowned women’s champion in six of the past seven years, but no NESCAC school has claimed the men’s title since 1995.

The Amherst men will look to carry their momentum from the Regional Championships into Saturday's national title run at St. Olaf College.

2007 NCAA Cross Country Atlantic Regional Championship
Amherst Men
*9 – Will Yochum – 25:10
*17 – Florian Reichert – 25:15
*29 – Carlyle Eubank – 25:28
*30 – Dan Murner – 25:28
*32 – Eric Holaday – 25:31
79 – Ben Mears – 26:18
97 – Mike Harbus – 26:33

Amherst Women
*2 – Heather Wilson – 21:31
*6 – Kim Partee – 21:46
*7 – Elise Tropiano – 21:46
*10 – Caitlin McDermott-Murphy – 22:04
*15 – Meg Ray – 22:15
*21 – Sophia Galleher – 22:25
*23 – Nicole Anderson – 22:29

*Earned All-New England Honors

2007 Amherst Season in Review
9/8 – Amherst Invitational (Men: 1st, Women: 1st)
9/15 – UMASS-Dartmouth Invitational (Men: 4th, Women: 1st)
9/22 – Purple Valley Classic (Men: 2nd, Women: 1st)
10/6 – Open New England Championships (Men: 8th, Women: 2nd)
10/20 – Little III Championships (Men: 2nd, Women: 1st)
10/27 – NESCAC Championships (Men: 2nd, Women: 1st)
11/3 – ECAC Championships (Men: 6th, Women: 2nd)
11/10 – NCAA Atlantic Regional (Men: 1st, Women: 1st)